Cosplaying as a Genderbent Character: Yay or Nay?


Whither thou, Kyonko?

Actually, I have to admit – I’m not really into Kyonko. Or, uh, anything Haruhi Suzumiya-related, for that matter… unless, y’know, we’re talking about all the KyonxItsuki junk flowing around /cm. But just like the loser fanboy can look at TEH NAKED BOOBIEZ and not be a fan of the show in question, I can look at the fan-generated BL and not care a whit about the show in question. Yes, I’m a perv, but, for better or worse, that isn’t something I find terribly troublesome.

Anyway, the issue at point here is this: is cosplaying as a genderbent version of your favorite character legit? Or is it just cheaping out (if you aren’t the same gender as your character of choice and don’t want to make the effort to make yourself look like the opposite gender)? Or could it be considered simply too 4ch-centric/blogosphere-centric, in a sense, to do?

I’ll admit that last question is a wee bit fuzzy, so let me attempt to clarify – would cosplaying as a genderbent character be somewhat akin to the actions of the cosplay snobs – that is, cosplay snobs are obnoxiously hung-up on their little sub-group, and for a person to go as a genderbent character would be similar in that it requires those around oneself to be aware of the presence of fandom representations of said genderbent character. Perhaps more clearly, consider how cosplay snobs seem to have their own little aristocracy, the sorts that the real assholes will express shock over if you happen to be ignorant of them. Does one end up in a similar position when someone doesn’t recognize them as Haruki? Granted, this itself hinges entirely on the reaction by the cosplayer themself, but it is something to consider.

To backtrack a bit, one could argue that genderbent character cosplay is a bit of a cheap move. After all, instead of duct-taping my boobs down and stuffing my hair into a wig, wouldn’t it just be easier to throw on that serafuku, shave my legs that morning, and go as Sunoko instead of Sunohara? (I will admit to having been tempted to do such a thing; specifically, to go as ‘Sunoko’, although primarily because the notion of a female Sunohara cracks me up.)

I have to say, I’m not sure I have an exact answer to this. Because it does seem a bit cheap on one level, but it also seems like it’d be pretty fun – from both a personal and a more general standpoint. But I also feel a sort of unpleasant snobbery would be inherent in such an act, for, as i said earlier, genderbent cosplay requires that the audience around oneself is as much of a raging anime dork as oneself is, as otherwise they are unaware of the joke.

I would like to note that I am not speaking at all of crossplay, if there’s any confusion whatsoever. I’m also not talking about the phenomena of… well, I don’t know what to call it, just when a person does cosplay as a trap… traplay? Sure, that works. Then, of course, we have the crossplay traplay – y’know, when a guy goes as a girl who is a reverse trap. Confused yet? Makes me think of Victor/Victoria.

Is it bad that I now sort of want to go looking for a picture of genderbent Tomoya (Tomoko? can’t do Tomoyo, one already exists!) kissing a non-genderbent Nagisa?

Damn you, fandom.


well, Shima did make an appearance in crossdressed form, so Shimako is a go!

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4 Responses to Cosplaying as a Genderbent Character: Yay or Nay?

  1. Baka-Raptor says:

    Nobody will know who you are if you dress as Sunoko, but you’ll still get more attention than if you go as Sunohara.

  2. Kiri says:

    Cosplay is for fun. Do whatever you want. Don’t worry about it being cheap or whatever the hell else. You wanna be Kyonko? Go for it. Whatever. People will judge regardless, so what the hell ever, y’know? I mean, why should all the Narukos have all the fun just because their character can actually turn into a girl?

  3. RmX says:

    What Kiri said. And it’s not like Kyonko cosplay hasn’t been done before.

  4. adaywithoutme says:

    @ all – Yeah, it was pretty much a rhetorical question – a friend of mine and I were debating it, with them definitely opposed, and myself not entirely sure. I’ve already decided I’m gonna go as a dango. Duh. If you see a pastel colored sphere rolling around the floor of Anime Boston, you’ll know who it is.

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